The Five Most Important Things This Week

by Alan Hanson

Veterans Day

Double-dripped from generations above we Hansons were military men until Me With My Many Feelings destroyed the line. You see, Papa was a California dream-machine with brass curls but he flipped his coin for the US Army to save our family. His brother followed in double-time. Grandpa hugged missile silos in Alaska during Korea and there’s rumor someone before him rode rough with Ol’ Theodore. Both my mothers’ fathers were pilots and both died before the Internet — one in Vietnam, the other with cancerous lungs. And it’s knuckle-hard to disagree while beaming respect but that’s the blood they bought for me, to be whiny problematic conflicting dodging and downright dismissive to it all. It’s an honor to know these citizen soldiers, it’s a buzzing burn under my skin that cracks each cell into fractions, so much so that it feels like many lives are living within my own, many men burrowed into my being, many walkways unobstructed thanks to these quiet cauldrons I call Home.

Lily Allen

On Feminism, Sexism, Racism, Appropriation, and Cultural Symbols of Hip Hop: I am a straight white male. I am not qualified to comment on this nor have I anything substantial to contribute to the discussion.

On Websites, Music Writing, and the Thinkpiece Hydra: The oft-discussed problems inherent to writing on the Internet are many and ever evolving. Possibly my least favorite is the clamor to get a clip by any angle necessary. This nasty over-thinking and over-squeezing of any possible editorial idea is largely bred by the requirement of writing for free in the hungry, wailing infancy of one’s writing career, in tandem with the umpteen editorial outlets online believing they are required, nay, commanded by God, to say something if seemingly everyone else has. Believe you me, I am ecstatic that we have this wonderful, fantastical dreamscape of an Internet to amplify our voices. Hera wants clicks though, Hera wants trends and Hera prays for virality — thus the out-angling of each other for placement and bylines, thus a beast with poisoned-breath heads all licking around themselves; of the same body, sure, but each a malformed copy, ready to sprout two more warped versions of the same thing once a Hercules of Importance or Originality comes slicing it off at the neck.

Ghost Town 4 Sale

There is a brave, Schlitz drinking, Black Flag record clutching, middle-finger to All Institutions teenager thrashing around inside my chest and screaming, “quit yr fucking job, light your 401K on fire, and for Christ’s sake stop caring about The Future and Planning and Normalcy, you goddamn sellout, you piece of puke. You piece of puke!” And I dress in the morning with all of the shame, an amount of shame I am just barely capable of hoisting upon my slacked shoulders, ironing me down with sorry steam. He bucks and cranks at images of Montana, homesteads in Wyoming, and this week at an entire ghost town for sale on Craigslist. An entire town! A quiet camp for us to mute the city with, to cut the Want and Drive that pulls pounds from me each day. All the quiet I could hold. All the sitting to be done. The lust of labor. The communal dinners and the fires and oh, the stories! The stories so many. But it’s neon bullshit and cubical fantasy. And how that cuts. I live a whimper. That brave, angry teenager died years ago. I buried him with my credit score.

Andy Kaufman

Don’t end your script with the waking of a dream. Don’t believe in any ghosts that aren’t your own. Don’t crutch silly hopes of old ideas. And if so, so what? Let him stay, for all intents and purposes, dead as he wants. Don’t come back. Kill yr idols, rid yrself of worship, unfollow yr idols who are still living and tweeting. They’ll only disappoint you and muck the ideas that are now yours, so very yours. There’s nothing special about disappearing. There’s just nothing.

Swearin’, “Dust In The Gold Sack”

This perfect 90s-tinged distortion-mourn didn’t come out this week but I’ve played it thirty times a day. It’s too fitting for those blindingly bright days that crisp your cheeks, with your purpose pace and your coat zipped to the throat, that sun licked almost-winter. Allison Crutchfield’s earnest, sweet declarations of memory make me want to bed down in the crunchy guitar’s bent notes and hold onto all that’s leaving — not the most progressive or healthy strategy, but a comforting one all the same, and one that strikes you hard as you turn this song to full volume after speaking with your freshly stroked grandfather and you’re staring at a John Varvatos storefront on the Bowery.

Alan Hanson is a Californian writer living in Harlem.